CeramicSpeed sent shockwaves through the cycling industry at last year's Eurobike with its radical new drivetrain concept that claimed drivetrain losses of just 1 per cent, eliminating vast amounts of friction by ditching the chain and derailleur system adopted by others such as Shimano and Campagnolo. The Danish company has seemingly let the (metaphorical) brakes off too, as it is full-steam ahead in developing their new drivetrain. It has since prototyped a covered version and worked in conjunction with Specialized to test the aerodynamic properties of this new drivetrain.
Driven has been retrofitted to a Specialized Venge - already the most aerodynamic road bike Specialized has ever produced - and was pitted against the standard Venge in Specialized's own wind tunnel. The concept showed improved aerodynamics in the region of three per cent across all yaw angles. Ingmar Jungnickel, Specialized's Aerodynamic R&D Lead, claims the prototype Driven drivetrain could save eight seconds over 40km.
"The results we measured are comparable of the aerodynamic improvement of the Venge ViAS to the current generation Venge," he said. "On a flat course, the aerodynamic gains made are in the same order of magnitude as the gains through the reduced drivetrain friction. Considering that was the first attempt, it seems that the system has the potential of further aerodynamic gains in the future."
As leaders in efficiency and bearing technology, aerodynamics has never been the brand's primary focus according to Jason Smith, Lead Engineer and Chief Technology Officer at CeramicSpeed - but it was always a consideration.
"When we first embarked on the Pursuit of the 1% Drivetrain initiative, the Product Engineering and Design team's focus was to achieve the utmost level of mechanical efficiency, yet aerodynamic efficiency was always in the back of our mind. During the early phases of development, it became pretty clear that Driven might very well turn out to be the most aerodynamically efficient drivetrain. But speculation means nothing without quantitative testing.
"Thanks to the rigorous aero testing at Specialized's 'Win Tunnel', it has been proven that significant aerodynamic gains can be captured with Driven," Smith continued. "It is quite an incredible R&D accomplishment to achieve the most efficient bicycle drivetrain ever developed...both mechanically and aerodynamically."
The past several months have seen significant developmental strides made by CeramicSpeed, with the company boasting a rideable prototype that can potentially redefine the rhetoric behind the cycling drivetrain altogether.
"Since we launched Driven at Eurobike last year, rideability and shiftability has been our primary R&D focus and we have made incredible advancements in only 10 months," said Martin Banke, head of CeramicSpeed's cycling division. "We've surpassed a speed of 45km/h during rider load testing at the velodrome, and have had major breakthroughs in a shifting mechanism that we're excited to unveil in due course. We're now looking forward to showcasing how Driven and the developments we've made can truly shift the future of bicycle drivetrains."
Cyclingnews understands there will be a rideable version available at Eurobike 2019, which is a mere week away, and we're looking forward to seeing those 'major breakthroughs' in action. Check back, we'll bring you the latest updates as they come in.